Yoga is a mind and body immersive discipline, which has been practiced by people, especially in the east, for thousands of years. The past decade has seen a big emergence of yoga in the west as well, with it becoming a trend followed by Hollywood stars and many western celebrities.

However, what has ensured the staying power of this trend has been the variety of benefits it has brought to those who practice it, from decreased stress levels, mindfulness, weight reduction to simple relaxation and better quality of sleep.

Yoga Retreats are another thing that has been gaining popularity over the years. Whether it is inquisitive beginners or yoga fanatics wanting to go on a rejuvenating journey, yoga retreats attract many different people from around the world.

If you are a novice to all things yoga, you may find yourself asking what exactly is a yoga retreat? Luckily for you, we are here to enlighten your mind on these wonderful rejuvenating getaways.

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A yoga retreat is when you go away for either a weekend, a week or even longer on a ‘mind body’ healing journey. A yoga retreat offers a number of activities, with yoga being a main one on the agenda and it is meant to benefit you mentally, spiritually and physically.

Most yoga retreats try to connect people with nature, which has a healing quality about it. Yoga retreats are hence becoming a popular choice with busy and stressed professionals around the globe, looking to find their zen and de-stress from their daily worries.

Yoga retreats can have different purposes. Some are focused on weight reduction and exercise, some are focused on detoxing the body and others are meant to help with relaxation and mindfulness.

However, going on a yoga retreat doesn’t mean that you will end up spending your whole vacation just practicing yoga. On most retreats, you practice yoga twice a day at sunrise and sunset, and that too in the open air such as on the mountains or the beach.

Most of your day would be spent doing other activities such as going on excursions, exploring the area where the retreat is taking place, making new friends and eating healthy. You will also most likely have meditation classes or mindfulness classes with the aim to de-stress, relax and rejuvenate you mentally and spiritually.

However going on a yoga retreat doesn’t mean you will be subject to a rigorous boot camp routine that you have to follow. You are free to miss classes if you so desire because a retreat is no prison, however to fully reap the benefits, you should adhere to the daily schedule on offer.

The main purpose of a yoga retreat is to renew our spiritual energy. Yogis believe that there is a life force or ‘prana’, which runs through all individuals, and it aims to remove the blocks in the energy to ensure smooth body function.

Similarly, yogis say that there are five layers of Being which cover the Self and they are called Koshas. The outermost layer is the skin and bones called AnnamayaKosha. Next comes the Life Force body called PranamayaKosha.

Then there is the Mind Body or ManomayaKosha followed by the intellectual body called VijanamayaKosha. The innermost is the Soul Body known as the AnandamayaKosha. A yoga retreat works on positive transformation on all these different layers or koshas and therefore helps you achieve a personal sense of wellbeing and positivity.

Yoga retreats happen all over the world now, so the world is your oyster when it comes to choice. You can choose exotic destinations varying from the sunny beaches of the Bahamas or the gorgeous vineyards of Italy to the snow kissed mountains of the Swiss Alps.

It depends on your whim and of course your time and budget so choose wisely. Always ensure you know what costs are included in the retreat such as meals or excursions so you don’t end up spending more than you bargained for.

It is also important that you choose a teacher you would be happy with, and find out what kind of yoga the retreat focuses on. There is Hatha Yoga, Yin, Vinyasa, Restorative and Ashtanga yoga to name a few.

Some retreats focus on a specific style of yoga while others incorporate a more generalized version of yoga in their schedules. Keep an open mind for adventure because you will be in a new place with new people experiencing new things. A yoga retreat is definitely a quick way to broaden your perspective and horizons.

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